Around the Web Digest: Week of April 26

It’s that time of year that makes you grateful for good students and good moments throughout the semester… we just had a great review session that helped put the whole course into perspective. If anything is happening online that I need to know about, send me the link at

This post on Brain Pickings is a little older but a reader just brought it to my attention (thanks!). It describes a broad-ranging public conversation between Margaret Mead and the writer James Baldwin that touches on issues of the extent of our moral responsibility and the formation of American racial/ethnic identities:  A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility 

For this week’s piece of shameless self-promotion, here’s a post I wrote for Anthropology News about a tour I took of a Guatemalan archaeological site that took a post-colonial turn: Welcome to the Jungle: Touring Tikal 

I was thinking about including the original post on Neuroanthropology that is described here in this week’s digest, but I’m linking to this post-about-the-post on Patheos: Science on Religion instead, because it uses Scott Atran’s anthropological reflections on ISIS to critique the general neglect of anthropological insights in public policy: “This, people, is why the world needs anthropology.”  Anthropology, Not Demagoguery, is the Way to Understand ISIS

Here, Material World explores how the Job Seeker’s Allowance forms systematically define London’s homeless as people lacking all of the important markers of social identity: The No-Person

The author of this piece on The Conversation is a sociologist, not that there’s anything wrong with that (YouTube link to Seinfeld, in case you’re at the office). Among other interesting findings, she found that women are not only more likely to “vandalize” these spaces but tend to be more scatological than men: What the Writing on the Bathroom Wall Reveals about Sex and Culture 

This interview on Food Anthropology focuses on teaching strategies for a Food and Culture course and how Stanford links it to the local culinary environment. The pictures made me hungry so be forewarned:  Would You Put Oregano on Your Posole: Lois Stanford On Teaching Food and Culture Around the World and Using New Mexico’s Diversity in the Classroom 

This DigVentures post, which asked a conservator to provide photos of artifacts from her life, is short but intriguing: My Life in Objects: Sara Brown, Archaeological Conservator 

This Fieldnotes and Footnotes piece thinks through the gendered dimensions of how violence shapes the parameters of our lived realities: On Violence, Reality and the Parameters of Social Existence: A Comment on Graeber’s Essay 

This short post on Anthropoliteia suggests that the “code of the suburb” for middle-class drug dealers is conflict avoidance: Social Control in the Streets and the Suburbs: Understanding the “Code of the Suburb” 

This Neuroanthropology article begins with the observation that average penis size seems to be shrinking for males while breast development is taking place earlier for females, possibly due to the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and goes on to speculate about future human development using niche construction theory: Plastics, Tiny Penises, and Human Evolution

See you next week… from Mexico! It might be a shorter post than usual. Stay tuned.

Rebecca Nelson

Rebecca Nelson is the executive director of América Solidaria U.S. She recently graduated with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on volunteer tourism in Guatemala and how it is opening up new avenues for tourists and hosts to develop more cosmopolitan understandings of the world (as well as opening up new forms of friction over the circulation of knowledge).